The state Department of Children and Families has fired two Children and Families Program Managers who are accused of “egregious misconduct,” after leaving two Willimantic children in the care of a couple who are on sex-offender and child-abuse registries.
The details of the case that were outlined in the letters Department of Children and Families provided were redacted, but the Hartford Courant reported in February that a 1-year-old and an infant were left with a father who is a registered sex offender and a mother who is on a child-abuse registry despite a child-abuse hotline complaint.
Officials from the Department of Children and Families said on Tuesday that the terminations are from the investigation in this case.
In February, Commissioner Joette Katz said the office director learned of the family’s arrangement in August 2015 and the children were immediately removed from the home, and that police were contacted on Aug. 14.
According to the letter human resources sent to the fired employees, a social worker supervisor went to a manager with the facts and the manager “failed to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the children and allowed the children to remain in this arrangement,” the letter says.
“The expectation in this case would have been for you to give direction to remove the children and find a safe and appropriate alternative for their care. Your claim that you directed a consult with clinical staff and legal staff does not alleviate your managerial responsibility to override the improper decisions made on this case in the interest of the safety of the children involved,” the letter says.
Parts of the letter to the other employee are redacted and say the children were left in the situation for weeks after the employee became aware and that she went on vacation shortly after the case was assigned.
Katz released a statement about firing the two employees.
“It is not an easy decision to make when we have to take disciplinary action. I know it takes a toll – not just on the staff immediately affected but on the office in question as well as the entire workforce,” she said in a statement. “But at the end of the day, we must place the children we serve above everything else. In this case, our policies and expectations were clear. Safety factors were ignored, and we must be and are responsible for taking the necessary actions.”